Mathini Vaikunthan's blog

Sum(mer) Kind of Wonderful

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This ten week REU program has been many kinds of wonderful. From the wonderfully kind people, to the wondrous food, to the many wonders we encountered on the island, I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer. Just as exciting as the fact that I was in Puerto Rico was the fact that I was working on something completely new to me: materials research in the Mechanical Engineering Department. I am a Chemical and Biological Engineer, so when I found out that I was investigating the viscoelastic properties of composites highly loaded with carbon nanotubes, I was slightly fearful because I only understood at most two words in that project description.

Only a Month

Mathini Vaikunthan's picture

On the first day of this REU program, we were asked why we chose to come to the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez for an entire summer. The answer was quite simple for me: it was a perfect opportunity for me to learn more about a vibrant, intricate culture while being immersed in what I loved-- research. The idea of coming here got me through finals and a tough first year at Princeton. I daydreamed of the amazing experiences I would have here through my short summer break, and then realized I might be setting unrealistic expectations for my time here. What if I did not like my work? What if there were no opportunities to actually experience Puerto Rican culture?

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